In a recent Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Photo of dead baby in Gaza holds part of the ‘truth’" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/patrick-pexton-photo-of-dead-baby-in-gaza-holds-part-of-the-truth/2012/11/23/0cd54eb0-342a-11e2-bb9b-288a310849ee_story.html?wp_login_redirect=0), you responded to criticism of your newspaper involving front-page photographs illustrating civilian suffering only of Gazans during Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense. You wrote:
"I think we can all agree that the Gaza rocket fire is reprehensible and is aimed at terrorizing Israeli civilians. It’s disruptive and traumatic. But let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.
These rockets are unguided and erratic, and they carry very small explosive payloads; they generally fall in open areas, causing little damage and fewer injuries."
I have several questions for you, Pat.
First, where are the daily pictures on the home page of The Washington Post of the thousands of civilians in Afghanistan who have been, and continue to be, killed and maimed by NATO bombing? I can assure you that they do not receive phone calls in advance from NATO forces, as did Gazans from the IDF, warning them to vacate the area and distance themselves from Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.
"Bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind"? Pat, you obviously have never witnessed the damage done by a Fajr or Grad missile. Fajrs, for example, carry payloads of more than 100 pounds of explosives.
But let's take this closer to home. Suppose that the south of New Jersey, which is the same size as Israel, were suddenly, over the course of a week, to be hit with more than 1,500 rockets and missiles. Would you allude to the matter as mere "bee stings on a bear's behind"? And if southern New Jersey were to be hit with more than 8,000 rockets and missiles since 2005, the year that Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza, would you still refer to this terror directed against civilians as "bee stings"? Not a chance. (If you did, you would be out of a job and most likely seeking employment with Hezbollah's Al-Manar news organization.)
Still not convinced, Pat? I propose an experiment. You probably have never visited the Israeli town of Sderot, which is some two miles from the border of Gaza, and where most of the children are suffering from trauma as a result of Hamas's "rain of terror." I would suggest that you spend a year living in Sderot, but then you would not be able to commute to WaPo, and in addition the rocket fire aimed at the town has ceased since Operation Pillar of Defense.
Instead, I have something else in mind. You take your family and move to "the sticks," but within driving distance from work, where you will live over the course of a year in an isolated house with a bomb shelter. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, I will fire the equivalent of Hamas's Kassam rockets at you (unguided, carrying only 22 pounds of explosives). On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights, I will fire Grad missiles at your home. When I fire a missile or rocket, an alarm will sound, waking you from your sleep, and you and your family will have 15 seconds to reach your bomb shelter. Mind you, my rocket and missile fire will be "erratic" and "unguided," and indeed most of it will fall in the woods surrounding your house, but if something does hit "home," I strongly recommend that you and your family be tucked away in your bomb shelter.
As an added bonus, I will not fire rockets or missiles at you on Sundays, a privilege that the residents of Sderot never enjoyed.
At the end of the year, if you live to tell the tale and have not lost your marbles in the interim, you can inform your readership if you still regard the missile and rocket fire as "bee stings."
Do we have a deal, Pat? I didn't think so.
Of course, my proposition was not serious, but this brings me to my next question: Are you stupid or just boorishly insensitive to incessant war crimes committed over the years against Israel's civilian population: mortar fire, Katyushas, Kassams, Grads, Fajrs, Scuds and suicide bombings?
You want pictures of bodies and body parts? Sorry, Pat, but out of respect for the victims and their families, it is Israel's practice not to disseminate photographs of such horror.
I also apologize, Pat, if I was not as diplomatic as my friend Mike Oren (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/falling-for-hamass-media-manipulation/2012/11/28/4d7b9498-39a1-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_story.html) in my criticism of you. Quite honestly, I found your opinion piece reprehensible.